Some time ago, I wrote about slow living and staying at Cape Cottage Studio at Phillip Island (gem of a find on Air BnB) over my birthday weekend. This is a quick follow-up post (to be told mostly in pictures), about what we did there!
After checking in and dropping off our bags, it was already 1pm (read: starving!) On the recommendation of a local, we stopped off at Burnt Toast (known for their coffee, I’m told).
I had their Calamari salad (yummy but was a long wait) and breathed in the lazy sea air. Next, we stopped off at Pannys Amazing World of Chocolate, because we like chocolate and refused to believe we are too old for it.
It was very well curated and would be a particular hit with the kids! The whole visit took us about an hour and a half. The displays were highly interactive; you get to learn how chocolate is made, as well as make your own chocolates (hint: take the time to read their chocolate jokes – very funny). I would’ve liked to see some information on the chocolate industry and what is being done about fair trade. To me, it’s a biased presentation of information if we just talk about how chocolate is made, without a consideration of the labourers in cocoa plantations and the conditions which they work under. Child and slave labour remains a top priority for industry reform and should be talked about and actioned on.
Following our chocolate visit, we took a walk around Nobbies Centre –
The boardwalk is amazing (hint: the outside of the Nobbies Centre had more things to do than inside – unless you’re one who likes to absorb information through reading). Outside, you can see one of Australia’s largest fur seal colonies. I put a gold coin into one of the ‘seal spy’ cameras to try and zoom in on the seals, and saw — nothing. I do have very bad eyesight though and never mind, the gold coin went towards research and conservation.
We then took the short drive to the site for the Penguin Parade (it’s a good idea to arrive plenty early) and waited for the little penguins to return home 🙂
I visited Phillip Island many years ago in primary school (and loved, loved, loved it!). I’m very happy to note that the penguin colony has grown considerably since that time (thanks to the fantastic work done by the Penguin Foundation and many others). (Hint: It gets very cold there, even in summer – so bring jackets, beanies, gloves etc. Also, bring something to sit on. If you get there early enough the best vantage points are at the sides of the viewing decks and not the centre. We bought our tickets very late and only managed to get the General Viewing tickets. I’d recommend the Penguins Plus option if you buy your tickets early enough).
Seeing the Little Penguins waddle across the sand is one of the most amazing things I’ve seen in my life (and I don’t say that lightly). You’re arching your neck to spot them and there’s a barely audible collective intake of breath from the crowd when the penguins are spotted. Whilst they’re waddling you’re watching with bated breath hoping that none of the seagulls or foxes gets to them. Whilst it’s nice seeing them on the viewing platforms because you can take in the whole scene, my advice is to wait until quite a few of them have made their way to the burrows and then hang around the boardwalks. If you’re patient, you will see them waddling in front of you – literally inches from your face!!! Before you drive home, be careful to check under your car and behind your wheels to make sure that there are no little penguins hiding there. The carpark is very close to their burrows!
(The penguin photos above are courtesy of the free penguin parade app because photos are strictly not allowed. It was sad to see some people pulling out their cameras and taking photos anyway. Flash or no flash it’s not allowed!!!! Please don’t do it. Even the click of the shutter can frighten them. You can get heaps of great photo from the free app and they make it very easy for you to share. Enjoy the experience peoples, stop taking photos!)
The next day, we woke up bright and early to walk around Cape Woolamai. We didn’t take one of the official trails, but opted instead for the path recommended by our Air BnB host. This is some of what we saw:
I love Australia, I love being outside. This country is so beautiful.
Was very yummy and fresh. Next, we headed off to Cowe’s Jetty, ready for our Seal Watching cruise with Wildlife Coast Cruises (I got some red balloon voucher ages ago, and we exchanged it for tickets on the cruise).
Before we spotted the seals, we could smell them. They were super duper smelly! And we were out in the wide-open air, imagine if it was an enclosed space- eek 😉 Once you get past the smell, it’s fascinating to watch the seals interact with each other and our boat – they’re seriously playful.
Though I made full use of the tea and cookies facilities on board the cruise, I was starving by the time we docked. Dinner was at Pino’s Trattoria – we highly recommend the prosciutto pizza (although Mister T disagrees with their quote on the quote board)….
Take time to pause for the sunset by the pier –
We also did a late night supermarket run, and found that they had interesting breakfast cereals in Cowes:
On our final day at Phillip Island, I woke up bitter-sweet. Sad, because it was our last day here for awhile, but happy because it was my birthday!
I was treated to a very girly morning chai latte (my favourite):
We then headed to the Cowes market, where there were an assortment of things to buy…….including three-legged bedframes, all sorts of nails and screws and a selection of plant clippings. Sad to say, I recently found out that the market has since closed and is no longer running.
After the market, we visited the Rhyll Trout and Bush Tucker Farm because I’ve always wanted to try my hand at fishing. We started off at the trophy lake outside, where one of the staff members taught us how to cast our line (I much preferred using corn bait rather than worm bait – cause I couldn’t bear to kill a live worm)
We were there for an hour and a bit — and still couldn’t catch anything. We googled ‘trout fishing’ on our phones for tips and tried out various suggestions to no avail. We looked at people around us – one little boy had some luck but everyone else was in the same boat. Eventually, I got bored and started wandering around the place, including visiting their chickens, which were very cute:
Finally, we let go of our pride and went instead to the indoor rainforest pool where you’re pretty much guaranteed a catch. However, walking to the inside pool was a bit like the ‘walk of shame’ and everyone hung their head sheepishly as they did so. The rainforest pool was filled to the brim with trout (and they were all probably starving); it’d be pretty hard for you not to get a catch. The staff there can clean your catch for you to take home (complete with insulated cold transport packs) or to cook at the free BBQ facilities, alternatively their chefs can cook your catch (baked with one of three marinades or in batter). I chose to have mine baked with lemon and pepper, and with the salad:
All in all it was a great first time fishing experience (even if it was cheating a bit). The fish was very fresh and yummy. My only advice would be not to catch too many fish because the whole experience worked out to be quite pricey for us. You have to pay for the entry fee, the fishing gear, the fish (by weight) and then for the cooking. But to be fair, the fish was pretty massive and the farm operates on sustainable aquaculture practices which I’m happy to support. The bush tucker trail is also worth a look – made for a nice walk after our massive lunch (and before the road trip home).
We headed back to Melbourne at around 3pm. I was very sad to leave Phillip Island, and hope to be back again in the near future.